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Largest quarterly fall in employment since records began

The number of people in employment in the UK in the three months to April 2009 was 29.11 million, which was down 271,000 on the quarter and 399,000 over the past year, according to figures just released this morning by the Office for National Statistics. This was the largest quarterly fall in the number of people in employment since comparable records began in 1971. The employment rate for people of working age was down 0.8% in the three months to April when compared to the previous quarter, and down 1.5% over the previous year.


Manufacturing saw the biggest job losses over the last quarter of 78,000 which means there are now 2.94 million people officially classed as working in the manufacturing sector, which is the lowest figure since comparable records started in 1978.


The government’s preferred measure of unemployment, using the Labour Force Survey, stood at 7.2% in the three months to April, which was a rise of 0.7 over the previous quarter and 1.9 over the year. In total, there were an extra 232,000 who became unemployed during the latest quarter, to reach a total of 2.26 million. This represents an increase in unemployment of 605,000 over the past year.


Source: ONS

Source: ONS

The other measure of unemployment, the claimant count, showed a figure of 1.54 million in May which was up 39,300 over the quarter and up 191,000 over the previous year. At the same time redundancies went up 36,000 in the last quarter and job vacancies fell by 38,000. Job vacancies now stand at 444,000 which represent a fall of 230,000 over the past year.


All the signals show a continued deterioration in the labour market even though there have been some signs that the recession may be bottoming out. However, employment is a lagging indicator and we can expect the employment situation to get worse before it gets better.


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Posted in Employment, recession, unemployment

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